Think of Italy and you think of food. Pasta, pizza, wine, chocolate, cheese, prosciutto….the list goes on and on. Is there another country in the world that has such a wonderful and varied list of food associated with it?
Visit Italy and you will want to plan your days around eating. But where to go? Not only are there dozens of options of what to eat but there are a lot of options of where to eat.
Autogrill: Autogrills are located on big Interstates and can be small or big enough that you could do a week’s worth of grocery shopping there. More than once, I have picked up food at an Autogrill for a picnic.
Bar/Caffé: These are an Italian institution and Italians would not be able to survive without them. This is where Italians begin their mornings and where they stop throughout the day for an espresso, glass of wine or small snack. It is the perfect place to sit and relax, read the paper and watch people.
Enoteca: Enoteca’s are Italy’s version of an American wine bar. You can buy wine by the glass along with a salad a tray of cheese and meat. You can also buy a bottle of wine to take with you and usually an opener if you do not have one.
Gelateria: Everyone needs to stop at least one gelateria on their visit to Italy. Gelato is creamy and delicious and comes in all kinds of flavors both usual and unusual.
Locanda: Locanda’s are usually located outside of cities and serve simple food produced locally.
Osteria: You will see Osteria’s everywhere. They are informal and moderately priced. They generally serve simple food, although every now and then you will find a more upscale restaurant that has hijacked the word Osteria and put it in their name.
Paninoteca: Everyone now has heard of panini’s. This is where you buy them. A Paninoteca is a sandwich shop that may or may not have a place where you can sit.
Pizzeria: You see or feel the big wood burning ovens and know immediately that you are in a Pizzeria. You can often buy things other than pizza at Pizzeria’s but the pizza usually simple, cheap and flavorful.
Ristorante: Check the menu of a Ristorante before sitting down. That will tell you whether the restaurant is inexpensive, expensive or somewhere in between.
Taverna: Much like an Osteria, Taverna’s tend to serve good, simple, inexpensive local food.
Trattoria: Most trattoria’s are mid-priced restaurants that frequently are family run. In a true trattoria you will feel like you are eating in someone’s home.